SABL is BioServe's Next-Generation Smart Incubator

The Space Automated Bioproduct Lab (SABL) is a dual-function incubator/freezer intended to support space life science experiments on the ISS by providing temperature control between -5°C and +43°C for biological test samples and related materials. Samples are often incubated at body temperature (37°C) and then stored refrigerated (4°C) or frozen (-5°C) although specific temperature profiles vary for each experiment. SABL can also support secondary functions such as physical science experiment support, food storage, and conditioning of passive temperature control devices. Crew operations are simple with a front-facing access door with a mounted touchscreen. SABL's software can be reconfigured in real time to accomodate new experiments and handle unexpected situations.

SABL was designed from the ground-up to seamlessly support complex experiment inserts including sensors, pumps, fans, cameras, computers, and additional hardware. Examples of hardware designed to work with SABL include ACM, SPOC, and the SABL Camera. A full interface definition document (IDD) for SABL is available upon request for organizations intending to perform an experiment within SABL or design hardware to work with SABL. Contact us if you're interested in learning more. See also NASA's page on SABL.

Science Inserts

  • Over 23 liters of temperature controlled experiment volume with integral LED lighting available for scientific hardware and experiments
  • Can be fitted with BioServe's Atmosphere Control Module to support cell culture experiments that require 5% CO2
  • Has 2 USB 2.0 ports to provide USB devices with both power and bidirectional communication
  • Has 2 Ethernet 1000 Gbps Ethernet LAN connections available
  • Has switchable 28 VDC and 5 VDC power supplies dedicated to experiment use

Temperature Control

  • Temperature can be maintained from -5°C to +43°C
  • Supports time-course temperature profiles (step and ramp changes)
  • Rapid temperature transitions enabled by liquid-cooled thermoelectrics


  • Near-real-time access to operational and scientific data
  • Commandable via BioServe's Payload Operations and Control Center (POCC)
  • 24/7 automatic status monitoring with supervision by human operators
  • Flexible software adaptable for experiment-specific requirements


SABL is a significant design evolution from BioServe’s previous-generation incubator/freezer known as CGBA. Major engineering development of SABL started in 2011. Five functional units were built between 2014 and 2015 with three flight units, one engineering unit, and one prototype unit. All three flight units are currently operating on ISS with the first two flight units launched in 2015 aboard OA-4 and the third flight unit launched in 2017 aboard SpX-11. In September 2018, NASA awarded BioServe a contract to produce additional SABL units modified for food storage and heating applications within the ISS Galley. The Galley SABL units are expected to become operational sometime in 2020.